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Texas Economic Success in Four Words: “Big, Hot Cheap and Right”

Apr 8 2013

by MaryDell Harrington

I am an avid New York Times reader and feel that my day is amiss if I don’t have a chance to read each section every day. Yesterday, in the Sunday Business section, a book review caught my eye. It had the best title I have seen in along time: Big, Hot, Cheap and Right. Plus, the subject was my home state of Texas.

There is a link to the review below but what made me want to sit right down and read this book by Texas Monthly’s Erica Grieder are the reviewer’s words:

Ms. Grieder’s is the rare book that takes stock of the Texas model without ridiculing many of its traditions and politicians.

As a Texan who has lived in NY for most of my adult life, I face, and do my best to face-down, the stereotypes people sometimes associate with the state. I don’t have to agree with the politicians, in TX or NY, for that matter, but I have little patience for regional prejudice or ridicule.

Just last week, at a social media gathering near my house in the suburbs, a middle-aged man asked me what happened to my big hair? For the record, no one I know has had big hair since the 60’s. Also, for the record, his wife was appalled at his comment and he came over later to apologize.

So, cheers to Ms. Grieder for writing this small book with the big title. I hope that she will be successful in dissolving stereotypes while explaining how Texas history – including cowboys, and oil, and the ten years the state was a nation – contributed to the modern reality of the Lone Star State.

Big, Hot, Cheap and Right

2 COMMENTS

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2 responses on “Texas Economic Success in Four Words: “Big, Hot Cheap and Right”

  1. shanigilchrist

    This is a great point and I can’t wait to read this. Thanks so much for sharing, you are so right about what you wrote here! I live in South Carolina and we travel often. While SC certainly isn’t perfect when it comes to politics or social attitudes (and what state really is?), it drives me crazy when people assume that an accent denotes stupidity. The south is full of diverse brilliant writers, artists, thinkers, and businesspeople. Unfortunately, I believe that some of the Southern media help hold back knowledge of this fact by only highlighting the things that are “traditionally” Southern. Grits, iced tea, and big hats are wonderful (I’m working on an essay about grits right now!), but we are so much more than that. The south is about carefully crafting professions and stories in a way that connects people. People of all educational backgrounds, economic groups, and ethnicities are offering amazingly creative innovations in all industries in a way that is unique to our region. Southern Living is doing a great job highlighting this lately. I hope more publications will follow suit! ***stepping down off my Monday morning soapbox now***

  2. marydellharrington Post author

    Shani, thank you for your thoughtful comment. I completely agree with you about how any region is way more than the obvious. We love celebrating the history of the south and cherish the customs but enjoy looking beyond to the dynamic present. I was on that soapbox with you!

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